The advent of the pandemic has only accelerated (albeit by several years) a process that seemed unstoppable, and which had a foregone conclusion. Streaming services, old and new, have already killed cinema as we know it. And this is an irreversible process, except for sensational changes which, frankly, seem completely unreasonable today.
This was a common opinion that was spreading in Hollywood circles just before Covid: giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video started the first important productions, also going to prizes.
It was only now, however, that the "oracle of cinema" had its say.
I'm talking about a guy named Barry Diller. Do you know him? He is not a fool. 80 years old and very clear-headed, he eats cinema as we chew gum. Today he has worked at Fox (for 30 years, having run it for 8) and is the CEO of IAC, a giant that owns stuff like Expedia and Tripadvisor, among others.10 years at ABC, where he invented the first full-length film for TV (90 minutes per month). 10 years in Paramount, producing stuff like "Grease", "Saturday Night Fever", "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", "Beverly Hills Cop". It should be enough?
Well, Barry Diller said this week that the film industry as we know it is not dying. She is already dead. And how.
These streaming services have made something they call 'movies'. They are not movies. They are a strange algorithmic process that created things that last about 100 minutes. The world of cinema as it was before is over and will never return.Barry Diller in a media interview at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference.
They are words of steel. Tomb words.
The gist of Diller's talk is that streaming services like Amazon Prime aren't built to sell movies to people. They are created to sell to people… themselves, streaming subscriptions. And more stuff from ecommerce platforms like Amazon. Amazon figured this out earlier, but struggled to structure an offer. Netflix has created a great offer, but it is structured only today to sell something else.
Media companies spend billions every year on content to create exclusive shows and movies that entice users to subscribe to their services. Netflix (which for Diller has already won the war, and will be as unreachable as Amazon for commerce) revealed last quarter that it plans to spend more than $ 17 billion in content this year.
There is no war without an army
These are monstrous figures, which also push other companies to come together to compete. Recently, AT&T announced a deal to merge its content unit Warner Media us Discovery and form a new media giant. The new media company could be worth well over $ 100 billion. Its executives said the two companies already spend $ 20 billion a year on content, including programming for their TV networks.